Domesticated. Like a Shih Tzu.
Domesticated. What does this word mean to you? Anything of inherent value? Or perhaps pertaining to phenomena unassociated with that of your own life? Because I’ve started thinking about it a lot.
My neighbor brought this word to my attention only a few days ago. Since then, it has sat like smoldering coal in the back of my mind.
Aside from the fact I’ve been enduring one of my semi-annual existential crisis, the slump and lazy mindset I’ve been scared to fall back into, is slowly reaching up with its icky hands, trying to pull me back into realms of discontent.
And one of the primary themes that is speaking volumes to me is this so called ‘domestication’ of the modern human, and of myself.
Just to give you some background information, it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Melbourne, and I was honored to share the company of my very pleasant neighbors from South Africa.
We drank beers. They were nice.
Now, this gentleman has seen some shit. And that’s not in any reference to any of his personal experiences necessarily. More so the fact that he is an intelligent, self-aware and observant man who has lived a life filled with experiences (as you’d hope is the case for every 50 year old).
We were light-heartedly discussing the history of Africa, specifically the original tribes and cultures that inhabited Africa before any European settlement had occurred.
And with European settlement came domestication in Africa.
Now, putting aside the wars and destruction that came with creating civilizations, along with dilution of native values and nomadic origins, ‘domestication’ was a fundamental step in the evolution of humans and society. Domestication provided us with the ability to live and fully inhabit a single location. It equipped us with knowledge to utilize existing resources and cultivate new ones.
But how far have we gone down that path of ‘domestication’ across the globe?
I live in a fairly affluent area, and looking at women walking around in ‘conventional’ clothes, driving ‘conventional’ cars and living ‘conventional’ lives, it’s quite obvious just how domesticated we’ve actually become.
I mean, it may sound silly, but you could use the domestication of dogs as a somewhat obscure (yet completely applicable) example.
(Warning: the following is a rough interpretation of scientific theory. But I think it’s dead right in comparison).
At some point, thousands of years ago, a common ancestor of dogs and wolves decided to get a little friendlier and become man’s best friend. Take a few of these guys from different regions, and voila, we have a heap of random looking things known as ‘dogs’. Domesticated dogs at that.
Watch everyone walking around you, keep this word glowing in the back of your mind, and do not tell me that you don’t see it too — Domesticated.
The bows. The pampered nails. The shiny coats. The doggy strollers! gag, babies need strollers-not puppies!
The extent to where people have become tamed, removed from the natural origins from which we’ve evolved— I mean, it just feels so WEIRD when you think of it like that.
And just to clarify, this is no rant in favor of some hippie mentality, where we should “return to our origins” and “technology is making us ignorant and dependent on it.” (although yes, that is slowly happening).
This is more of a ‘hey, stop, check it out’ moment.
Look at just how far removed people are from the world around them. I mean not only have we created artificial environments within which we spend our whole lives, but people are consumed in this virtual world of media and ‘civilization’. It’s just…weird.
This year’s been a big year for strengthening my identity, and in doing so, I’d be wise to analyze the culture I am currently embedded in. There’s this tug of war in my mind between maintaining organic origins and habits, and taking part in the technological evolution around me, into realms of the unknown. I sort of want both — if that’s possible.
But I know one thing is for sure — a lot of technology is being abused, people are becoming less interactive with the immediate world around them and more interested in becoming a little, white fluffy poodle hanging out of a fat lady’s hand-bag!
There, I said it. There are too many damn Shih Tzu’s and Bichon frise people around now!
Yep’, they’re the yapping nightmares that wouldn’t know WHAT the heck to do stranded in the outdoors. Hell, I’d probably be just as hopeless — a French Bulldog running around with a bow-tie on my damn collar, slurping up ‘My Dog’ by the can!
Man, at what point did we stop becoming wolves? Wild and free, yet smart and capable of survival.
At what point did the poodle and Pomeranian lovers roll in and decide to put a stop to all the fun? I’d choose the wolf pack any day over this level of domestication. I don’t need to drag my knuckles on the ground to have the sort of freedom I seek, but I don’t need to be attached to an Apple Watch, an Android, an i-this, an i-that all day everyday either.
The beauty here? I get to chose.
If the rest of the world wants over-domestication, fine, but I don’t have to be a part of it. I’d imagine there are others who feel the same. (Insert wolf howl here.)